Published: 08th September 2020
Here's how this 12-year-old from Ludhiana is using Minecraft to make learning, teaching fun in schools
Namya, a Class VIII student at the Sat Paul Mittal School in Ludhiana, has been leveraging technology to make learning as well as teaching fun. We find out more
It all began two years ago when Namya Joshi from Ludhiana was working on her school project and she came across the Microsoft game Minecraft. She spent a lot of time trying to figure out the workings of it. "I was in class VI then and I started playing Minecraft. After understanding the basics, I watched a few tutorials and got myself familiar with it. At first, I was only playing it for fun but then, I realised it had the potential to help us, children, learn our regular lessons in an interesting manner. I saw my friends and classmates getting bored with regular lessons so I decided to recreate these with the help of Minecraft because it can help you enhance the topics visually and thus, leverage technology to make learning fun and exciting," recalls Namya. The 12-year-old from Sat Paul Mittal School in Ludhiana has since been leveraging technology to make learning as well as teaching fun. Namya has also been training teachers across the globe with the help of interactive Minecraft sessions.
If you don't know yet what Minecraft is, then it can be best described as a sandbox video game that looks a lot like LEGO at first glance. In the game, players are placed in various randomly generated worlds which the players have the ability to manipulate. Namya has been using the Minecraft Education Edition, which is an open-world game that promotes creativity, collaboration and problem-solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is your imagination. It is a game-based learning platform that offers educators a transformative way to engage students using Minecraft and ignite their passion for learning. It is being used across the globe to teach a range of subjects, from History and Chemistry to sustainability and foreign languages, and one can map lessons directly to specific learning outcomes and curriculum standards.
Namya tells us she had once recreated the Egyptian civilisation in Minecraft and shared that with her teacher. "When the teacher used it to teach us lessons in class, students got more engaged and began understanding the concept better. I have also had personal experiences and difficulties in not understanding certain concepts but Minecraft's interactive learning has helped solve the problem. There was also a workshop conducted in our school to train teachers on how to use it. Later, I had also created the Harry Potter world on it," she explains.
Namya has trained over 600 teachers and at least 400 students during the lockdown alone. The eighth-grader has also been learning how to use Photoshop, app designing, web designing and adds that she loves sharing her knowledge with friends. She loves to read books, draw, learn calligraphy and play the piano during her leisure time. Namya is also working on a book of her own. She recently got the opportunity to meet Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in person at the Young Innovators Summit, 2020 held in New Delhi, just a month before the lockdown began. She says she was inspired to do more after meeting him. "If you stop learning you cannot grow, you should also share your knowledge with people. I want to become a social entrepreneur, develop technological solutions for various problems in our society and make education available to all," says Namya, adding that the meet motivated her even more to chart her life's course.
Namya is self-taught, says her mother Monica Joshi, who is a Microsoft Expert Educator and Minecraft Global Mentor herself. She is also the IT head at Namya's school but she says she was surprised that her daughter took an interest in such a thing and agrees that Minecraft could do so much for children of her age. "I didn't know at first that she was not only playing but planning lessons on Minecraft. Seeing the amazing results, I was convinced that we should also introduce this in the school. We had workshops and I gradually realised how captivating it was for children and saw that they retained the lessons better," she adds. Namya and her mother plan to create more lessons together and help more students and teachers around the world.